Imagine a Day Without Water, held October 19, is a national day of action intended to continue the push for safe, affordable, and reliable water access for all. By signing the #OneWaterPledge, individuals commit to take immediate, measurable action to increase their water knowledge and learn how to ensure all members of their community have access to drinking water and sanitation. Attend our Fall Open House (Oct. 16 – 20) for details.
The Future of Water: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The culturally embedded phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is often associated with trash: how much you create and what you do with it. Its origin can be traced back to the 1970s, after the growing popularity of single use items in the 1950s, as people increasingly recognized the importance of managing air pollution, waste, and water quality. With today’s heightened awareness of environmentally sustainable practices, this phrase has taken on greater meaning including how we use water.
The waste management hierarchy is a tool that seeks to replace “the three Rs”, turning it into an inverted pyramid (or water drop) of waste management strategies from most to least environmentally preferred. While reduce, reuse, and recycle are included, prevention is the preferred method and disposal is a last resort. It aims to help consumers and producers extract the maximum practical benefits from products while generating the minimum amount of waste.
This hierarchical approach considers the whole life cycle of the products we use (including water), from raw material extraction all the way through to disposal. While consumers can make use of this approach in their daily habits, government incentives and regulations are evolving to ensure businesses are considering the possibly unintentional consequences of their operations to make decisions that impact more than just their bottom line.
Top priority within the waste management hierarchy is reducing the amount of raw materials sourced to create the products. In the water industry, we routinely promote the message of conserving water, or reducing your water use, so that we can pull less water from our raw water source (such as a lake or aquifer) to produce clean drinking water. This starts by consciously being aware of how you are using water and then taking steps to use only what you need. Many water utilities are now able to provide software to their customers that shows how much water their household is using, as well as where and when they are using it. Lakeway MUD, for example, implemented WaterSmart after switching to advanced metering infrastructure, or “AMI,” water meters in December 2021. But, beyond household water use, consider your water footprint: all products (cars, jeans, cell phones, hamburgers, etc.) and even services (such as electricity) use water to produce in varying amounts, so what you consume impacts how much water you use. The United States has the highest per capita footprint of all other countries, equivalent to about 2,200 gallons per person per day, according to Water Footprint Calculator.
When you can’t reduce, your next effort should be to reuse or repurpose. This could be as simple as shopping at a consignment store for second-hand goods or refilling a reusable water bottle rather than buying single-use drinks. You could also capture water from your shower, sink, washing machine, and rain gutters to be used to irrigate your plants. In actuality, all water is reused because there is no new water on the planet: the same amount of water exists today as it did billions of years ago; where it is in the water cycle impacts its usability. Only about three percent of Earth’s water is freshwater and of that, only about 1.2 percent is accessible for drinking water. This is why we say that every drop counts!
Lakeway MUD was one of the first in the state to implement a water reuse system to irrigate the Yaupon Golf Course in 1975.
Recycling is the process of dismantling and remanufacturing a product so that it can be used again. While recycling plays an important role in environmentally sustainable practices by cutting down on the need for raw materials, it does take energy to produce so it is near the bottom of the waste management hierarchy. In the industry, “water reuse,” also known as “water recycling” or “water reclamation,” is gaining traction. It’s the process of highly filtering and treating wastewater to standards for land application use, such as irrigation, which accounts for about 60 percent of water use in our service area. Lakeway MUD was one of the first in the state to implement a water reuse system to irrigate the Yaupon Golf Course in 1975. Today, we have storage for over 90 million gallons of recycled water that is used for irrigating several local golf courses, the city’s medians, parks, and various commercial and some residential locations. Some cities are taking water recycling a step further: El Paso, Texas, a city in the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert that was predicted in 1989 to run out of water by 2020, is furthering their investments against drought. They aim to become the first major American city to implement what industry professionals call “direct potable reuse” or “advanced purification.” The media often irreverently refers to this as “Toilet-to-Tap.” This innovative process takes water reclamation to a new level by treating wastewater to drinking water standards. Singapore, a densely populated island where freshwater is in short supply, has been successfully producing and adding their “NEWater” to the country’s drinking water supply since 2003. This supply currently meets 40 percent of Singapore’s water demand according to media sources.
While continuing to evolve environmentally sustainable practices of your own, vote with your dollar on what’s important to you: buy from brands who support sustainable practices as part of their business model. Corporations have shifted their practices, which in turn changes entire industry standards, based on consumer influence. We each can make a difference when we adjust our habits towards a world we envision for the future. •
Originally written by LMUD for Lake Travis View, July 2023
LMUD Fall Open House: October 16 – 20
|Enjoy refreshments while you peruse the available literature and goodies to take home including water-saving information and fun/helpful household tools. Conversation Starters on various water-related topics will be held at 10am and 2pm daily.
What: LMUD Fall Open House
Visit our website for details and schedule: lakewaymud.org. •
At this year’s Summer Open House, Meg Inglis, Executive Director of the Native Plant Society of Texas, presented “Landscaping with Native Plants” to a full room (pictured left). She suggested at least 70 percent of a property’s landscaping should be made up of native plants to support wildlife and reduce the financial and environmental cost of irrigating, fertilizing, and using pesticides. If you’re thinking to switch out a lawn with a native plant bed, start small; fall (October) is the best time to plant. Use the NPSOT Native Plant Database to find which native plants are best suited for Lakeway’s ecosystem (Edwards Plateau):
Central Texas Rain Garden
Keep Water on the Land
With increased population growth and smaller lots, much of our land is being covered with roadways, rooftops, parking lots and sidewalks that do not let water soak into the soil. This decreases baseflow (the constant flow in a creek) while increasing the chances of flooding and streambank erosion. The result is that many creeks have excessive flow during heavy rains and dry up shortly afterwards. You can help both our waterways and your drainage problems by incorporating some “greenscape” techniques into your landscape plans.
For more information, including landscape design templates that fit your needs and style, visit growgreen.org •
#OneWaterPledge Water Challenge
In association with national action day Imagine a Day Without Water, held October 19, 2023, by signing the #OneWaterPledge, individuals commit to take immediate, measurable action to increase their water knowledge, learn how to ensure all members of their community have access to drinking water and sanitation, and to share their commitments and progress with the US Water Alliance.
I pledge to participate in one or more of these One Water actions and share my progress by World Water Day on March 22, 2024.
- Start with the water that goes into your body! Where does your local drinking water come from? Who makes sure your drinking water is clean?
- Learn what happens to water when it leaves your body! Where does it go? Who manages this water?
- Learn about the climate issues that impact your area, and how those conditions affect water access and safety. What happens when there are droughts? What happens when you have floods?
- Read about the pillars of water equity and learn about how your community and neighboring communities may experience a lack of equity in water services. Which pillars are most pressing in your community? Who is working to remove these inequities and how can you help?
- Reflect on your relationship with water and share your water story.
For more information, visit imagineadaywithoutwater.org •
|“We attended your recent open house and learned a bunch about water conservation and picked up some excellent reading material and a low-flow faucet, sprayer, and some other items. It was very well done and we learned a lot. Thanks for that opportunity.”
– Laura P.
|“In my not so humble opinion, you are the best public service agency I’ve encountered in 60 years over half-a-dozen states. You reflect great credit on yourselves and the City of Lakeway.”
– Sheldon S.
LMUD Participates in City of Lakeway’s 60th Anniversary Fourth of July Parade
The true spirit of patriotism was alive and well at this year’s July 4th parade as the citizens of Lakeway came together to celebrate the city’s 60th anniversary with the theme, ’63 and Free. Our parade float design this year featured a massive waterfall (such as the one found at Hamilton Pool) surrounded by rock, native plants, and flowers with the slogan “The Hill Country Runs on Water.” We received permission from the statewide Texas Runs on Water campaign to use this slogan from one of their regional campaigns. The campaign recognizes that each region of Texas faces different water challenges, but the importance water plays in our daily lives is indispensable: “From agriculture to industry, from fishing to floating; water is at the heart of everything we do and everything we love about Texas. The crucial role water plays in our daily lives can’t be taken for granted. It’s truly the lifeblood of our state.”
WaterMyYard Program Provides Personalized Recommendations for Efficient Irrigation
WaterMyYard is a free program provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension that will send you weekly watering advice on how long to run your irrigation systems based on the specifics of your system and local weather data. For more information, visit watermyyard.org or stop by the Resource Center at our District office at 1097 Lohmans Crossing for a brochure.
Reminder: WaterSmart Portal Available for Free to All LMUD Customers
The WaterSmart platform allows customers access to detailed information about their household water use. Customers are able to track their hourly and daily water usage, self-identify and resolve leaks, understand where their water is being used, compare their water use to similar households, and set water use alerts. LMUD customers can login or sign up for their free account using their customer number and zip code at lakewaymudtx.watersmart.com.
Reminder: Residential Connections to LMUD Reuse System Available for Properties on Live Oak Golf Course
In association with the Out of District Wastewater (ODWW) Project, LMUD installed purple pipe along with the wastewater system expansion project around the Live Oak Golf Course. Homeowners in the impacted area have the option to connect to this recycled water system for personal irrigation use. For more information, visit lakewaymud.org and search for “residential reuse” or visit our District office at 1097 Lohmans Crossing.
Reminder: Convenience Fee Added to Payments by Credit/Debit Card
The LMUD Board of Directors approved an automatic $2 convenience fee to each credit card transaction, starting with the December 2022 bill cycle, to help offset rising costs. Customers may still pay by cash, check, or ACH transfer payments with no additional fees. Customers on AutoPay can choose to switch from credit card to bank draft by logging into their account at LakewayMUD.org or by calling the LMUD District Office during regular business hours at (512) 261-6222.
Reminder: We’re Hiring
Full-Time Maintenance Worker: No experience required, just the ability to work hard with a good attitude, be a team player, and have a willingness to learn a skilled trade. Responsibilities include the construction, repair, and maintenance of LMUD’s water distribution and wastewater collection systems. Positions are full-time, 40 hours per week, with occasional overtime. Starting salary is $17 to $20 per hour based on experience plus benefits and available overtime. All work is located in Lakeway, Texas. Must have reliable transportation to and from job. Company vehicle provided while on site with valid driver’s license. Must agree to drug free workplace policy and be able to complete strenuous manual labor. For more information, visit lakewaymud.org and search for “job openings” or visit our District office at 1097 Lohmans Crossing. •